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Rabbi's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's Blog

Rabbi Mendel's blog features his Dvar Torah (Torah lesson) column from the weekly E-TORAH, ocassional musings and other articles that he authors from time to time.
Your comments are welcome.

Flowing Water

A famous story is told of the detested town miser who was spitefully given an inconspicuous burial. However, shortly thereafter, everybody realized that the poor people were going hungry. Upon investigation it was discovered that he was secretly paying all their bills.

Similarly, only after her passing was Miriam’s true value recognized.  All too often the real playmakers are unsung heroes during their lifetime. After they are gone, we realize how indispensable they were.

In Parshat Chukat we learn the well-known story of Moshe hitting the rock instead of speaking to it. What is lesser known is why the Jewish people were desperate for water. This sudden dearth of hydration was due to the fact that Miriam had just passed away.… Read More »

Inside and Out

In 1959 an activist in Israel offered the Lubavitcher Rebbe an offer he felt the Rebbe could not refuse. He established a new organization with the agenda of building synagogues throughout the Holy Land. He was offering the Rebbe the title “Honorary President.” The Rebbe, he insisted, would not have to do any actual work. Rather, the Rebbe would just lend his name and this would further the holy cause.

In a letter, the Rebbe declined the offer for two reasons.

Firstly, the Rebbe said that he does not accept offers where there is no actual work. Here is a translated excerpt:

After thanking you for your good intentions, I am compelled to refuse this honor, in keeping with the custom of the Chabad-Lubavitch Rebbes, who as a… Read More »

Stretching & Leaping

This has been a special week to travel the Land of Israel.

I am privileged to spend 10 days in the Holy Land with the boys, families and staff of Cherry Gulch.  We have seen the hills, vistas and rivers. We have touched the millennia-old stones and visited synagogues and sacred spaces.  And we have heard the stories.

It’s a great marvel that the Spies that Moshe sent did not want to enter this land.  This week’s parsha Shelach tells of their dreadful report and the near-mutiny that ensued.  Why were they so reluctant to enter a land with so much potential?

It’s ironic how nowadays everyone is fighting over this tiny land, yet they despised it.

Perhaps, their greatest fear was leaving their own… Read More »

It’s Mine Like It’s Yours

A woman suddenly begins laboring on board an aircraft.  A man suffers a heart attack while on a cruise.

These are startling events that change the trajectory of the journey for both the individual and the entire group.  The plane may need to be diverted and the cruise ship may need to stop at the nearest harbor. Everybody is inconvenienced because they are sharing a vessel. They are literally in the same boat.

But, what if they weren’t tied at the hip? What if this was a single woman living alone – in labor, but also in need of assistance to deliver her baby? What if the man had no family and the only people that might help him were neighbors and passersby?

***

In this week’s parsha we read of the heavenly… Read More »

How, Not If

This Shavuot our family celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of our son Zali (Shneur Zalman). It was a very special occasion. What makes it even more special is sharing it with family and friends.

We are so touched at all the blessings showered upon us. We don’t feel worthy of them, but are honored at the kindness and thoughtfulness of others.

The Talmud teaches that one who blesses others is blessed by Almighty G-d. So it’s not just us saying, “Right back at you!” It’s Hashem Himself showering his blessings upon those that bless others.

***

In this week’s Torah portion, Nasso, we read about the instruction to the Kohanim (priests) to bless the Jewish people.  The Torah states:

The Lord spoke to Moses… Read More »

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